Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Games Left Much Worth Remembering

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Games Left Much Worth Remembering

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

SALT LAKE CITY -- They were billed as "The Comeback Games," a chance for America to show its post-Sept. 11 resolve and a chance for the Olympics to wash away the scandals that brought the Games to Utah.

Oh, well.

One out of two isn't bad.

We had Skategate, protests, the Russians threatening to pull out, more protests, failed drug tests and more protests.

So this morning you can look at this torch as half lighted or half extinguished. Maybe I'm naive, but I prefer the former. This is an event that brings out all that is good -- and bad -- about sports. And, in the end, the good always shines brighter than the bad.

The Games are strong.

The Games have survived Hitler, commercialism, terrorism in Munich, a bomb in Atlanta and NBC's tape delays in Sydney.

They will survive French judges and Canadian pairs.

I will try to forget much about these Games. But I will try to remember much more.

I will remember Grizzly, the 1.9-mile, elevator-shaft drop of a downhill run.

I will remember Chris Klug, 18 months after a liver transplant, pulling out a bronze; Jim Shea Jr. winning the skeleton gold with a photo of his grandfather in his helmet; Brian Shimer finishing a 17-year, five-Olympic journey by finally getting a medal.

I will try to forget the IOC, ISU and USOC news conferences and remember the one with Aussie aerialist Alisa Camplin. "Can I tell you a secret?" she said, confessing that she wiped out on the tiny slope leading to the press tent to talk about her gold medal.

I will remember how much fun everyone, including the athletes, seemed to have. Well, once you got away from hockey, figure skating and the Main Press Center.

I will remember Bonnie Blair, standing in the top row of the stands, frantically ringing a cow bell just like any other fan excited about the U. …

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